Signs of spring to guess how far the season has advanced

All four seasons have their changes, signs, and symbols. Spring is both the most dramatic and the most important.

When the world reawakens from its winter rest, it's time to get gardening and get everything else done that had to wait for warmer weather.

A very early sign of spring that most people miss is shown by the very thin branches at the top of a deciduous tree.

After the last leave has fallen, tree branches look like black pen lines against the sky. They're sharp, clear, and crisp. Well-defined, in other words.

When spring arrives, the tops of your deciduous trees will show the change in the most subtle way. They blur. They fuzz. They become diffuse. This is the earliest buds coming out and breaking up that clean, sharp, pencil line against the sky. When the tops of trees become fuzzy, you know spring is on her way.

That doesn't mean you won't get more hard frosts and bad weather. It's a very early sign.

What signs of spring do you look for to guide you in when it's safe to dig, to sow, or to open up those cold-frames protecting your hardy greens?

Sweet Tatorman's picture

Edit 3/27 to fix a sequence error. Flattened Mayapple leaves in wrong place. BTW, this year I am through all of these excepting the flattened Mayapple leaves which are still a couple of days out.
I have been in the habit of noting and recording the dates of the following items. I don't actually use them for any decision making. Being observant of these items gives me something to do on my prebreakfast morning walk. Listed in the usual order of occurrence though some are sometimes simultaneous or reversed in order.
First emerged Trillium plants.
First open Trillium blossoms.
First emerged Mayapple plant.
First color on Redbud trees.
First emerged Squawroot (Conopholis americana).
First emerged bamboo.
First emerged asparagus.
First Morel mushroom seen.
Mayapple leaves raised to horizontal.

David Trammel's picture

The increase in Summer time weather due to climate weirding is expected.

I look at willow branches. In early spring in the inter-mountain west, they start glowing a red color. Also lilac buds start to swell. I have just been pruning fruit trees and each variety had it's fruit and leaf buds at different stages. One of the plum trees I pruned was already showing bud break and you could see a peek of the white blossoms inside.

Sweet Tatorman's picture


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